PAHO platform brings health monitoring of chronic diseases to remote populations
By Sherrica Thompson
January 23, 2023 – Over 71 percent of all deaths globally are said to be caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In the Americas, 5.5 million deaths are due to NCDs, such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
As a result, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said it developed a digital platform to bring telehealth services to remote populations in Latin American and Caribbean countries. This, the organization said, will make telemedicine the “new normal” for healthcare workers and patients managing chronic diseases.
The All-in-ONE Telehealth platform, which PAHO said is based on Open-Source technology, was developed in 2022 with financial contribution from the United States Government and has initially been piloted in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The aim of the platform is to improve patient outreach and follow-up, with an emphasis on continuity of care for people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” the Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health at PAHO Sebastian Garcia Saiso said.
Based on information from the PAHO, the digital platform will be able to carry out several critical health functions. These include:
- Assist diabetic or hypertensive patients in managing and monitoring their disease;
- Allow health workers at remote points to create an “advance triage” to refer patients before they undertake the necessary travel to a health centre;
- Integrate applications such as instant messaging, conversational bots (chat bots), patient medical records and digital prescriptions;
- As well as send an alert when a patient’s test results are outside a normal range;
PAHO said its goal in increasing universal access to healthcare is to make the platform available as a public good so that all countries in the region can benefit from it.
A rollout of the All-in-One platform is planned for this year in several countries, such as The Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Suriname, Dominica, Uruguay, Panama, and Nicaragua.
Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI.
The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues.
The session aimed to highlight success stories and explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.
The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.
As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.
In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor, immediately.
Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.
- Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
- Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.
Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales. Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.
The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.
In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing locally.
A short look at Celery
March 17, 2023 – Celery is a great food for people trying to lose weight or just put healthy meals on the table. It’s mostly made up of water and with only ten calories per stalk, you can add it into juices, salads, stir frys and more, without worrying about large amounts of sugar.
There are other health benefits as well. Healthline says it is rich in antioxidants, reduces inflammation, supports digestion and it can help with heartburn from spicy foods!
TCI farmers have hopped onto the celery train and the nutritious vegetable will be available to purchase, in a debut for celery, at the Farmers Market this Saturday March 18th from 8:30 am to 1pm.
WHO Ranks Air Quality, Grenada ranks high others not measured
By Dana Malcolm
March 17, 2023 – A new air quality report from IQAir claims only six countries met the World Health Organization’s Guidelines on Air quality in 2022, Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand but the Northern Caribbean was almost totally excluded from the list.
There were no results for The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Haiti or Cayman. The blame for that though may lie with the countries themselves. IQAir said there were major gaps in government-operated regulatory instrumentation in many parts of the world. The organization revealed that it was citizens who were picking up the slack.
“Low-cost air quality monitors sponsored and hosted by citizen scientists, researchers, community advocates, and local organizations, have proven to be a valuable tool to reduce the massive inequalities in air monitoring networks across the world, until sustainable regulatory air quality monitoring networks can be established,” it said.
It may be time for more Northern Caribbean Governments to look into outfitting their countries with air monitoring devices for the health of their residents.
The Caribbean countries including Trinidad, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands etc, that did make the list, ranked very low in the pollution index with air quality just outside the WHO standards and much better than most major cities, except Grenada, which ranked in the bottom six which for this list means best in class.
The WHO measures air quality based on how much fine particulate matter and other basic pollutants are in the air.
Aidan Farrow, Air Quality Scientist at Greenpeace International said, “Too many people around the world don’t know that they are breathing polluted air. Air pollution monitors provide hard data that can inspire communities to demand change and hold polluters to account, but when monitoring is patchy or unequal, vulnerable communities can be left with no data to act on.”
The report is now encouraging citizens to take air pollution into their own hands and not wait for their Governments to attack the issue.
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